By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media
Morning, Lunatics …
>> We’ll bring the weekly chat to you live from Consol Energy Center at the Penguins practice. It begins, as always, at noon and right here on this blog.
>> A half-hour before that, at 11:30 a.m., I’ll be on Penguins Radio 24/7 as a guest of my friend Katie O’Malley, also at rinkside.
>> And so, this happened late last night in Chicago …
Another tremendous Game 7 overtime for what’s been a pretty entertaining Stanley Cup playoffs to date and, with that flick of Brent Seabrook’s wrists, we were suddenly down to four teams: Pittsburgh, Boston, Los Angeles … and Chicago.
Remarkably, those were the past four Cup winners, only the second time in NHL history that’s occurred.
Should make for quite a field, huh?
A popular topic in the eternity still remaining between now and Game 1 of Penguins-Bruins is bound to be how all this shapes up for the Penguins. My answer, dull as it might come across, is that it doesn’t matter much. If the Penguins play like they did in the final two games against Ottawa, they’re the champions. There isn’t a collection of forwards or defensemen or even a one-round sizzling goaltender who can stop them.
That latter one really stands out for me. The Penguins just blew away the NHL’s best statistical goalie in Craig Anderson, they had their way all year with the consensus most talented goalie in Henrik Lundqvist … and I don’t see why that wouldn’t carry over to the best remaining at the position in Jonathan Quick.
But yeah, that’s getting way ahead, which is how these conversations usually do — and should — end abruptly.
>> Here’s our full Penguins coverage this morning, including a Joe Starkey column.
>> The Pirates’ valiant late rally beat the Tigers, 5-3, and raised their record to 23-11 in games decided by two runs or less. It also brought — of course — another Jason Grilli save, as he’s now 22 for 22. That means Grilli has now recorded an official save in exactly two-thirds of the team’s wins.
All of that is insane.
The Pirates also are one shy of the major-league lead in save opportunities with 28 and No. 3 in converting those at 82 percent.
An insane combination.
To his credit, Clint Hurdle conceded to TribLIVE Radio yesterday morning that, no matter how good these results look, it’s not sustainable without more than a couple guys being trusted at the back of the bullpen.
This was his interview with our Ken Laird and Guy Junker …
Here’s more from FanGraphs for those of you into advanced stats. Check BABIP and strand rates. Check out the Pirates ranking third in what FanGraphs calls ‘High Leverage’ situations. And the starters seventh-to-last in innings pitched.
Funny how all those allegedly ‘objective’ sabermetricians who went to any length to defend the Pirates’ management for years have fallen suddenly silent on stuff this obvious.
>> Sean Spence finally speaks at the Steelers’ OTAs and insists he isn’t done, by Mark Kaboly.
>> Hope to have you for the chat. Remember, as soon as you see the post go up, you can submit an entry.